Who do we actually think is going to be moved in by the NBA trade deadline?

Who do we actually think is going to be moved in by the NBA trade deadline?

Are one of these Kings on the move?
Are one of these Kings on the move?
Image: Getty Images

There are more NBA trade deadline rumors than there are R.A. The Rugged Man syllables on Uncommon Valor.

If you’ve asked yourself, “Why the hell hasn’t anyone made a move?” at any point in the past 48 hours, just know, same here. But as we wait for transactions to overreact to and talk ourselves into role players swinging the title, there are an assortment of rumored moving parts surface over the last few days. Let’s organize through the few who may be moved between now and tomorrow’s deadline. (And that means no Bradley Beal reveal at the end. It’s not happening.)

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Kyle Lowry, PG, Toronto Raptors

Kyle Lowry, PG, Toronto Raptors

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A Lowry deal seems inevitable. There are too many single tweets to hyperlink, but the best stuff has come from the 5 Reasons Sports crew down in Miami, who have been reporting on their interest in Lowry, led by Jimmy Butler, for months.

Lowry’s been mostly linked to the Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers, and Los Angeles Clippers, but at this point, it would be shocking to not see him in Miami or stay in Tampa with the Toronto Raptors. (You read that correctly.)

From Feb. 18 to March 16, the Heat won 11 of 12 and going back to Feb. 5; the team went 15-4 following a 7-14 start before its current four-game losing streak. The losing streak provides clarity in the form of Miami needing not just a third star, but one who could primarily handle the ball and create plays for others, making decisions and leading so that Jimmy Butler doesn’t have to all the time. Whether Lowry combined with Butler and Bam Adebayo is enough for a Miami NBA Finals return or not is up for debate, but no one will be thrilled to see them this summer.

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Aaron Gordon, F, Orlando Magic

Aaron Gordon, F, Orlando Magic

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Amid The Athletic’s report of Gordon requesting a trade from Orlando last month, he discussed why following last night’s game.

“There’s been times where I just expressed my frustration to management,” he said. “Frustration with the losses. The injuries. The way we’ve been playing. How we’ve been playing. And how many losses have accumulated over the years … it’s just my frustration boiling over. And I think a lot of people share that sentiment with me, of frustration.”

But asked if he still wanted a trade, he did the athlete thing of saying his focus was on tomorrow (tonight) against the Phoenix Suns.

Per Keith Smith of Yahoo and elsewhere, the $28 million exception having Boston Celtics are the leaders in the clubhouse for Gordon, which would give them a four, and perhaps a small-ball five, in a season plagued by COVID and injuries.

The Houston Rockets also have discussed Gordon with the Magic, but Chris Haynes of Yahoo says Gordon wishes to be dealt to a contender, not the Rockets, who just recently lost a million games straight.

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Victor Oladipo, SG, Houston Rockets

Victor Oladipo, SG, Houston Rockets

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We’re two weeks removed from asking who wants Oladipo and have yet to receive an answer. Having previously noted the possibilities with Miami, the Golden State Warriors, and the New York Knicks, there isn’t much to update on Oladipo.

Yesterday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said the Rockets are confident that they’ll move Oladipo by Thursday’s deadline. Here’s what he noted:

“The Rockets are increasingly comfortable with the offers on Oladipo in the marketplace, which include young players and first-round pick combinations that the franchise believes are suitable returns to make a deal, sources said.

“Oladipo, who can become a free agent this summer, has a longer-term interest in joining the Miami Heat, which is well known around the league, sources said. Miami has the salary-cap space to sign Oladipo as a free agent this summer, which has inspired a reluctance on the Heat’s part to make a premium offer to Houston for a trade, sources said.

“Oladipo has a mutual interest in the New York Knicks too, sources said, and New York — armed also with summer cap space — has been reluctant to make an aggressive trade offer on Oladipo too, sources said.”

Oladipo is making $21 million this season and rejected a maximum two-year, $45.2 million extension from the Rockets in February.

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Lonzo Ball, PG, New Orleans Pelicans

Lonzo Ball, PG, New Orleans Pelicans

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You could argue that the Pelicans should consider dealing Brandon Ingram over Ball in the interest of long-term fit around Zion Williamson, but Ingram isn’t the one in trade rumors. Ball has been linked to several teams, including the Denver Nuggets (for a deal including Bol Bol), the Chicago Bulls, the Atlanta Hawks, the Knicks, and the Clippers.

On here, we’ve discussed Ball’s advancements as a three-point shooter and the likely assist he’d provide to a title contender. He’s headed for restricted free agency this summer, which is a primary reason for the Pels’ interest in trading him to begin with, even though few others could throw better lobs to Williamson. Guards Malcolm Brogdon and Fred VanVleet both agreed to four-year, $85 million deals in recent offseasons, giving you a rough benchmark for what the 23-year-old Ball could command this summer. He’s seeking something in that ballpark as is.

The Knicks are the team who should most pull the trigger if they can’t afford to wait until the summer to execute a sign-and-trade, in which they’d give less. It’s a golden opportunity for them to land a point guard of the future who would also fit perfectly alongside Immanuel Quickley, RJ Barrett, Julius Randle, and Mitchell Robinson in a 2021-22 starting five.

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Other names of note

Other names of note

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Andre Drummond, C, Cleveland Cavaliers: Even with that massive Celtics trade exception, it doesn’t appear that Cleveland Drummond’s likely landing spot is in Boston. In fact, he might not even be traded, and executives around the league reportedly see him landing with the Los Angeles Lakers.

John Collins, F/C, Atlanta Hawks: Unless he and Trae Young want to fuck each other up, Collins shouldn’t be on the trading block. However, Collins has been linked to several teams, and on SportsBettingDime, he even has five teams sitting at +700 or lower. Don’t fully expect him to be moved, though.

Harrison Barnes, F, Sacramento Kings: Barnes has been recently linked to the Nuggets and Celtics, among others, but the 18-25 Kings still have an outside chance of making the play-in, and it’s possible that teammate Buddy Hield is on the move instead. Barnes would provide solid stretch four play wherever he goes.

Domantas Sabonis, F, and Malcolm Brogdon, Indiana Pacers: It was fairly surprising to see two seemingly Indiana cornerstones being floated out there, but it doesn’t automatically mean it will result in something. Still, Yahoo’s Vinny Goodwill noted that the Pacers are at least fielding offers for Brogdon and that Sabonis could follow. Following an 11-7 start, the Pacers now stand at 19-23 and are tied for ninth in the Eastern Conference.

Spencer Dinwiddie, G, Brooklyn Nets: In the same story, Goodwill notes that the Nets are open for business as it relates to Dinwiddie, whose torn ACL likely prevents a return this season. Dinwiddie has been discussed with the Heat, and names like Avery Bradley, Kendrick Nunn, and Moe Harkless have circulated in these discussions, Goodwill notes. Dinwiddie has a player option worth over $12 million next season, but a team acquiring him would also have his Bird rights when re-signing him to an extension.

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